Archiver > PHILIPPINES > 2003-09 > 1064799073

From: "Craig & Betty Hubbard" <>
Subject: [PHILIPPINES-L] Philippine Research
Date: Sun, 28 Sep 2003 18:31:13 -0700

I originally posted the following on's GenForum in Dec
2002 and in light of recent queries and discussions in this group,
thought it appropriate to repost.

Persons researching Philippine ancestry should avail themselves of the
resources at the Family Search website provided by The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints. You will have little success writing to
any agency or Catholic Church in the Philippines for vital records.
Even going there in person will not guarantee that you will get the
record you are seeking. For example, my Mother-in-law went to her
hometown in Candijay, Bohol for a record of her birth. She was told
that it was "destroyed in the war." A common reply used to deter
seekers of records. By the way this tactic sometimes occurs here in the
US. Later I found the civil record of her birth by searching every
record on the LDS microfilms for Candijay. Following is the URL for the
LDS Family Search site.

I've been following the thread on this list concerning Philippine
genealogy research, appears to be a lot of failing about in the
haystack. The odds for finding the needle are only slightly better than
the odds of winning the lottery. Very few Philippine researchers will
find anything to help them on the Internet. The Mormon Church has been
microfilming Philippine church and vital records for many years. Around
1995, I can't recall the exact year, the Mormon Church microfilmed more
Philippine records than any other country where similar microfilming
projects were underway. Even recent Philippine vital records (but not
all) are available on microfilm.

The above website provides the entire catalog of available Philippine
microfilms. The microfilms may be viewed at any Family History Center.
The same website will provide you with the location of the nearest
Family History Center.

If you are serious about your Philippine family history research, be
prepared for years of grueling research. For example in researching my
wife's family history I read every baptismal, marriage, burial, and
confirmation record for her hometown and several nearby towns. Some
films I had to go back and read two or three times, because of newly
uncovered information.

I had to teach myself to read enough Spanish to read the records. I
made "help sheets" for relevant words and after reading several hundred
records, no longer needed the help sheets.

Church records are usually written in Spanish and Latin phrases are
sometimes used (rarely). Thus one must have access to someone who is
more than conversationally fluent in Spanish in case of difficulty in
deciphering the record.

Church records for deaths are usually burial records which give the date
of the burial and are sometimes unclear as to when the death occurred
and the cause.

At the Family Search site you may download a printable PDF file for
Philippines Research Outline

If you don't already have genealogy software, I highly recommend the
software Personal Ancestral File provided FREE on the Family Search
website. It is as good as or better than Family Tree Maker. It also
has the advantage of excellent support that is very unlikely to go away.
This is in contrast to some genealogy software makers who no longer
support their product.

The following book is also very helpful, but out of date in regards to
available Philippine microfilm records.

Vance, Lee W. Tracing Your Philippine Ancestors. Provo, Utah:
Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1980. (FHL book 959.9 D27v; film
0795859 item 11; computer number 0065360.)
This work is essential if you are beginning research in Philippine
genealogy. It includes valuable local histories; descriptions of most
records types; a bibliography; and practical, step-by step instructions
for effective research. I reiterate that it is out of date regarding
Philippine records available on LDS microfilm, unless Mr. Vance has
produced a revised edition.

By the way, I am not a Mormon. I worked as a volunteer for 7 years in
the local Family History Center and provided training to both staff and

Additional Philippine research information may be found at Precy
Ordinario's excellent website "Philippines Genealogy Web Project,"
however, he has not updated his website since 28 Oct 2001.

Craig Hubbard

This thread: